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Building Aurora: Sears Houses in Aurora, Illinois

History

cover of Sears Homes brochure

From 1908 to 1940, Sears Roebuck and Company ordered, manufactured and sold homes to hundreds of thousands of Americans. They offered quality homes at a reasonable price.

At first, the mail order business was slow and it was not certain if selling homes would be profitable. Sears began to see a profit with the printing of their first publication, Book of Modern Homes and Building Plans. Soon, Sears set up sales offices where buyers could browse and purchase plans. Sears homes followed architectural styles rather than set precedent. They took already popular designs and made them widely available to the public in different sizes and shapes. Buyers chose plans depending on their own style and affordability and also had the opportunity to modify the plan or bring in their own. Everything from fixtures to furniture was also available to buyers to complete the Sears look.

An efficient delivery and construction system was set up to allow easy assembly. Materials were usually shipped by rail and shipments were staggered according to building schedule. Because rail was the most popular form of transportation, Sears homes can mostly be found in the Northeast and Midwest, where rail lines were more frequent.

Sales were strong in the early Depression years but lagged by 1933. In 1934, Sears closed the Modern Home Department. It briefly reappeared from 1935-1939 and only offered fabricated houses by General Houses Inc, of Chicago. This association ended in 1939 and the last book was published in 1940.

Sears homes were popular in the railroad community of Aurora, which boasts 136 authenticated properties, making Aurora one of the largest concentrations of Sears homes in the country. A Sears Honor Built Home office was located on River Street from 1929 to 1934 and was managed by F.C. Gallagher, who lived in a Sears house at 125 S. Western. A majority of Sears home owners in Aurora obtained financing through Sears and signed trust agreements with Sears employees Walker O. Lewis, and E. Harrison Powell.

Self-Guided Tour

Download the Sears Houses in Aurora Self-Guided Walking Tour brochure.

Complete List of Sears Homes in Aurora

Below is a complete list of Sears houses in Aurora (and two in Montgomery that were originally in Aurora).  The Preservation Commission has identified a majority of the styles, but since many are modified it can be hard to tell.  If you have any information on a Sears house or a style that is not identified, please notify the Preservation Commission.

Complete list of Sears Homes in Aurora
Number Address Style Image
1.

1014 Allaire Ave

The Grant (?)

 
2.

387 Ashland Ave

The Wellington

387 Ashland Ave.
3.

187 N. Calhoun St.

The Starlight

 
4.

193 N. Calhoun St.

The Farnum

193 N. Calhoun St.
5.

210 N. Calhoun St.

The Grant

 
6.

255 N. Calhoun St.

Sears Garage

 
7.

171 S. Calumet Ave

The Castleton

 
8.

406 S. Calumet Ave

The Glyndon

 
9.

521 S. Calumet Ave

The Maplewood

521 S. Calumet Ave.
10.

838 Charles St.

The Kismet

 
11.

848 Charles St.

The Winthrop

 
12.

914 Charles St.

The Vallonia

 
13.

916 Charles St.

The Fairy

 
14.

924 Charles St.

The Natoma

 
15.

926 Charles St.

The Berwyn

926 Charles St.
16.

604 Concord St.

The Letona

 
17.

730 E. Downer Pl.

No 126

 
18.

506 S. Elmwood Dr.

The Puritan

 
19.

125 N. Farnsworth Ave

The Crafton No3318E

125 N. Farnsworth Ave.
20.

563 Farnum St

The Hampton

 
21.

800 Fifth Ave.

The Somers

 
22.

804 Fifth Ave.

The Olivia

 
23. 924 Fourth Ave. The Wilmore  
24.

735 Front St.

The Westly

 
25.

748 Front St.

The Winona

 
26.

1120 Front St.

The Wellington

1120 Front St.
27.

1040 E. Galena Blvd

The Wellington

 
28.

1107 E. Galena Blvd

Customized

 
29.

803 W. Galena Blvd

The Alhambra

 
30.

553 Gates St.

The Berwyn

 
31.

821 George St.

The Berwyn

 
32.

813 Gleason  Ave

The Solace (?)

 
33.

814 Gleason Ave

The Farnum

 
34.

1019 Grand Bl.

The Wellington

 
35.

1308 Grand Bl.

The Dundee

 
36.

948 Grove St.

The Oakdale

 
37.

1100 Grove St.

The Vallonia

 
38.

1138 Grove St.

Customized

 
39.

1211 Grove St.

The Oakdale

 
40.

613 Hammond Ave

The Elmwood

 
41.

826 Hammond Ave

The Hampton

826 Hammond Ave.
42.

250 Hampshire Ave

The Claremont

250 Hampshire Ave.
43.

773 High St.

The Crescent

 
44.

1000 High St.

The Plymouth

 
45.

625 Hinman St.

The Conway/Uriel

 
46.

22 Hopkins Ave

The Fullerton

 
47.

510 Illinois Ave

The Farnum

 
48.

545 Illinois Ave

No 126

545 Illinois Ave.
49.

1474 Indian Ave

The Grant

 
50.

216 Ingleside Ave

The Hammond

 
51.

325 Ingleside Ave

The Hampton

 
52.

329 Ingleside Ave & Garage

The Natoma & Garage

 
53.

1034 Jericho Rd.

The Wilmore

1034 Jericho Rd.
54.

215 Keck Ave

The Farnum

 
55.

180 Kendall St.

The Westly

180 Kendall St.
56.

849 E. Lake St.

The Collingwood

 
57.

726 S. Lake St.

Gone

 
58.

452 Lakelawn St.

?

 
59.

643 Lafayette St.

The Westly No 144

 
60.

1024 Lafayette St.

The Claremont

 
61.

108 N. Lancaster Ave

The Crescent

 
62.

412 N. Lancaster Ave

The Claremont

 
63.

332 LeGrande Blvd

The Puritan

 
64.

1130 Liberty St.

The Grant

1130 Liberty St.
65.

1318 Liberty St.

The Clyde

 
66.

1426 Liberty St.

The Hampton

1426 Liberty St.
67.

206 N Loucks Ave

The Farnum

 
68.

219 N Loucks Ave

The Olivia

 
69.

231 N Loucks Ave

The Mount Vernon

231 N. Loucks Ave.
70.

387 Manor Pl.

The Wellington

 
71.

522 N. May St.

The Conway

 
72.

628 Monroe St

The Starlight

 
73.

702 Montgomery Rd.

Gone

 
74.

714 Montgomery Rd.

Gone

 
75.

716 Montgomery Rd.

Modified

 
76.

720 Montgomery Rd.

Modified

 
77.

517 Morton Ave

The Hamilton

 
78. 523 Morton Modified  
79.

647 W. New York St.

The Starlight

 
80.

807 W. New York St.

The Fullerton

 
81.

772 North Ave

The Cornell

772 North Ave.
82.

774 North Ave

The Crafton

 
83.

432 North Park Ave

The Starlight

432 North Park Ave.
84.

6S191 Old Eola Rd.

The Westly

 
85.

545 S. Ohio St.

The Berwyn

 
86.

541 Parker Ave

Customized

 
87.

545 Parker Ave

Customized

 
88.

549 Parker Ave

Customized

 
89.

259 Parkside St.

The Berwyn

 
90.

1026 Pearl St.

The Berwyn

 
91.

513 Phoenix Ct

The Grant

 
92.

519 Pierce St.

Modified

 
93.

1860 Plain Ave

The Starlight

 
94.

1870 Plain Ave

The Sunlight

 
95.

1872 Plain Ave

The Homewood

1872 Plain Ave.
96.

1156 Pleasant Pl.

The Farnum

 
97.

822 Prairie St.

The Barrington

 
98.

904 Prairie St.

The Hamilton

 
99.

184 Ridgeway St.

- Gone -

 
100.

943 Ridgeway St.

Modified

 
101.

949 Ridgeway St.

The Hampton

 
102.

951 Ridgeway St.

Modified

 
103.

953 Ridgeway St.

The Starlight

 
104.

708 Sard Ave

Modified

 
105.

852 Sard Ave

The Claremont

852 Sard Ave.
106.

1024 Second St.

The Crescent

 
107.

1565 Sheffer Rd.

The Willmore

 
108.

699 Sheridan St.

The Somers (?)

699 Sheridan St.
109.

1130 Solfisburg Ave

The Hampton

 
110.

1246 Solfisburg Ave

The Berwyn

 
111.

528 South Ave.

The Crescent

528 South Ave.
112.

602 S Spencer St.

Customized

602 S. Spencer St.
113.

813 Spruce St.

The Sheridan

 
114.

847 Spruce St.

Modified

 
115.

1010 Spruce St.

The Fullerton

 
116.

1014 Spruce St.

The Olivia

1014 Spruce St.
117.

1027 Spruce St.

The Starlight

 
118.

155 N. State St.

The Fullerton

155 N. State St.
119.

313 S. State St.

?

 
120.

328 S. State St.

Customized

328 S. State St.
121.

108 Sumner Ave.

The Hampton

 
122.

186 N Sumner Ave

The Berwyn

 
123.

245 N Sumner Ave

The Farnum

 
124.

1022 Superior St.

The Starlight

 
125.

1131 Superior St.

The Hampton

 
126.

906 Talma St.

The Wellington

 
127.

609 S. Union St.

The Berywn

 
128.

621 S. Union St.

Modified

 
129.

632 S. Union St.

The Oakdale

632 S. Union St.
130.

707 S. Union St.

Modified

 
131.

125 S. Western St.

Modified

 
132.

378 West Park Ave

The Winona

 
133.

405 Woodruff St.

The Wellington

 
134. 824 Ziegler - Gone The Crescent 3258-A  
135.

828 Ziegler - Gone

The Dundee

 
136.

832 Ziegler - Gone

Modified

 
137.

959 Ziegler

Modified

959 Ziegler
138. 719 Palace The Crescent 719 Palace